On Target: Gorgeous Got a Gun aims for unique rock sound
by Michael Hixon
(Updated: Friday, July 17, 2009 9:12 AM PDT)
Los Angeles-based Gorgeous Got a Gun will bring its high-voltage act to Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach Thursday, July 16, for an album advance party to jumpstart the release of its self-titled debut this fall.
Founded by singer/songwriter Veronica Torres and guitarist Chris Evans, Gorgeous Got a Gun brings its message of self-empowerment with a retro and modern sound highlighted by a rock vibe with a danceable beat. Torres and Evans are joined by Jimi Blaze on bass, Steve Aguilar on keyboards and Bryan Walker on drums. Special guests include The Ruse and Terraplane Sun.
Saint Rocke is located at 142 Pacific Coast Highway.
For more information, visit www.gorgeousgotagun.com, www.saintrocke.com or purchase tickets at www.saint-rocke.ticketleap.com/Gorgeous-Got-a-Gun-07-16-2009-09-00.
Torres and Evans recently spoke to The Beach Reporter about the band’s history and the new album.
The Beach Reporter: What can you tell me about the new album?
Torres: The album was recorded at The Document Room in Malibu. It was produced by J.T. Meskiel. Chris and I got together, just the two of us, and started writing songs, which then kind of transformed in the studio into this really epic record that features a lot of instrumentals on the guitar with Chris. It has a new modern rock sound with synthesizers and, of course, with retro sounds ranging to the more modern rock sound.
Evans: We started working on it about a year ago and we were doing her songwriter stuff and then it kind of evolved into ‘How about this idea?’ Then all of a sudden we had all these new songs. Then we got this opportunity to do this record. It was really cool because we recorded the whole record, actually in the studio, as we were working. So some songs we kind of had rough ideas. Some songs were literally written from scratch in the studio. We would hit record and see what came out.
Did that just come organically or did you plan on that?
Evans: We went in with three songs. That’s actually how we got the deal was we had three songs done. One time through rehearsal, the producer was like, ‘I really like this stuff. Let’s do the record.’ The rest, the producer gave us time to do it. So we would sit in there and get in a groove and then we would build it up from there, really organic like you said. Once we got started, it just kept coming and coming.
What were some of the inspirations behind the new songs?
Torres: The whole thing was being able to work with Chris. Being able to work with the producer was a brand new thing. I’m just a singer/ songwriter and having all those doors open up was a possibility for me just to go crazy vocally and expand into these rock melodies that I’ve never been able to do before. I guess you can say I got inspiration from a lot of band mates and other people at that time in my life.
Evans: For me, I’ve been for the past 10 years primarily playing in reggae and kind of hip-hop style bands. To get the opportunity to do a rock record was new to me but something I’ve always wanted to do. I just always ended up in these alternative genre bands. So getting the opportunity to have a completely blank canvas to do something new was really exciting for me. What I really found most inspiring about doing a rock record was that there aren’t any constraints. To be working a style like reggae, it’s very rigid as far as if you veer too far out of it, that’s no longer proper reggae. Where with rock, there’s such a broader canvas. That was the most inspiring thing for me for sure.
Can you give me a little background on yourselves and how you ended up playing together?
Evans: Veronica was the opening act quite a few times for the last band I played in. Every time I saw her, I was more and more intrigued every time she played with us. Finally (in) 2007, I was reaching out to people, I’m going to start broadening my horizons, and the first person I reached out to was Veronica to collaborate. Ever since we started, it’s been like fire wire, just amazing opportunity after opportunity.
Torres: I basically was a singer/songwriter. I did a lot of things in the South Bay. I did a lot of things in the Hollywood singer/songwriter circuit but I was kind of looking for something more. Chris started playing with me with my solo project. Then we just started writing songs that were just made for a full band and that’s always been my dream is to be more of a frontwoman, have people to rely on, be able to step out of the singer/songwriter venues and go play way bigger venues. When Chris kind of came into my whole world, we just started writing together, searching for the next level and, ‘Hey, let’s start a band.’
So did you grow up wanting to be in music?
Evans: Oh, yeah, definitely. I started playing guitar when I was 12 and then by the time high school started I was in the quintessential party band. So pretty much we had a different drummer and/or singer every time we played but it was always super fun. It was basically right after that I got into this pretty established band in Orange County that actually went really far. I got to ride that to tours through New Mexico and Las Vegas and all across the western states. It was really exciting and that was when I was 19. I got the bug then and I haven’t given it up. After that I ended up going on to a Musician’s Institute and got my degree in music, which was the next giant step for me musically.
Torres: I went to LMU for college and I actually played basketball my whole life. I always had a guitar but I never really picked it up until college when I stopped playing basketball. Then I started doing open mics and kept writing more and more songs and realized this is really what I wanted to do. I’m 24 now but since I was 17 years old I’ve kind of been around town singing these songs I’ve written and definitely caught the bug and this is where I want to be.
Did either of you grow up in a musical family?
Evans: My older brother (Ron Evans), he is an amazing musician. He actually plays the harmonica on our record. We’ve got a couple of songs that feature the harmonica. It sounds kind of funny but it works amazing on this record. He’s an amazing singer, guitar player, multi-instrumentalist. He’s the one who got me started. I remember being about 8 years old and his band playing in our parents’ backyard for parties and I would just be grinning ear to ear watching him do his thing. I was like, ‘That’s really cool.’
Torres: For me, my family isn’t very musical at all. Actually I’m kind of the weird kid in the family that sings and plays guitar. On my mom’s side, her mom was an actress and model. She had the artist inspirational thing going on and she was a big inspiration for me growing up. She passed away when I was 3 years old but I would always look at her old modeling pictures and all the things she used to do and say, ‘Wow, that’s where I get this part, I think I get from her.’
Evans: My family is crazy artistically. My mother is a fashion designer and my dad is an artist. They’re out there, radical thinkers. For me, my parents were a gigantic support system, always pushing, make your living doing something creative.
What do you think is the No. 1 key to your sound as a band?
Torres: I think it’s the mixture I would say of pretty vocals but at the same time powerful and kind of dirty at times on top of a very intense rock band, which you don’t really hear all the time. It’s kind of like this dichotomy.
Evans: I would say the key to our sound is the prettiness of Veronica’s vocals over really gritty and grungy guitar work. I still focus on heavy grooves like we might be playing a really loud and fast rock song but the backbeat between the drums and the bass is going to have this really deep pocket and makes for a really fun dance groove even though we’re rocking.
Where did you guys come up with the name of your band?
Evans: It came from about 10,000 horrible band names. I think it was finally whittling down a lot of words that we really liked and then a lot of different parts came from different people that have been inside of our circle, getting us to this point. I think ultimately now, to me what the name means is the gun is our metaphor for the call to arms that empower people to believe in themselves and never settle for being stuck in situations that aren’t healthy or positive for them.
Torres: We were throwing around the name gorgeous a lot. Some of the people in our inner circle came up with the phrase Gorgeous got a Gun and we were like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome’ because it sounds cool No. 1 but No. 2 when you think about it and when we started to dissect it, it really does show a dichotomy of a weapon-type thing and a girl. It’s more about empowering yourselves, being able to think with your own mind and use whatever it is that you do as your weapon of choice to conquer the things you want to do.